Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Spaghetti with Peas and Pancetta

Tyler Florence is one of my favorite chefs, in fact, his cookbook, Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen, was one of the first books I bought that made me think... “Holy cow...I love food in a crazy way, and I love to make it look beautiful, and I love to cook for anyone that will sit down at my table.”   This epiphany came while pouring over the pages for hours, staring at the photos and, also, I had a little crush on him {it was 2003 -- don’t tell my husband}.  Anyhow, if you guys haven’t discovered Tyler Florence, check his books out.  His mantra is all about taking the ingredients that you have and making them glorious in a simple, unfussy way.  There’s even a sushi section in the book, which led me to try out sushi at home for the first time....something that is truly scary for any cook.

Another thing I especially love about this book is his section of recipes specifically designed for 2 people... Steve can be a little picky when it comes to leftovers {um, and I also like to cook so much that a new day calls for new food, don’t you think??} so we are constantly letting food go to waste.  A recipe for two is perfect simple.  Today I’m showing you a pasta recipe from his book that I love so much, filled with peas, pancetta, goat cheese and lemon.  I hope you guys love this easy to make recipe as much as I do...it’s become a staple in our home!

Spaghetti with Peas and Pancetta
from Tyler Florence’s Real Kitchen

1/2 pound spaghetti
extra virgin olive oil
6 oz pancetta or thick cut bacon, diced
1 onion, minced
1 bay leaf
1 c. sweet peas, frozen or fresh
1 oz goat cheese
1/2 c. fresh grated parmigiano-regiano
1/4 c. fresh flat leaf parsley
juice of 1 lemon
fresh ground black pepper
1/4 c. fresh basil, hand torn

  1. In a large stockpot, cook spaghetti in plenty of boiling salted water for about 10 minutes, pasta should still be a little firm.
  2. At the same time, heat a 2-count drizzle of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-low heat.  Add the pancetta or bacon and stir.  When fat starts to render, after about 3 minutes, add the onion and bay leaf.  Cook and stir until the onion caramelizes, about 10 minutes.  Now add the peas and cook for 2 minutes just to heat them through.
  3. Drain the pasta, reserving 1 cup of the starchy water for the sauce.  Ford the goat cheese into the hot pasta and give it a toss so it melts.  Scrape the pancetta {bacon}, onions and peas into the pasta pot {toss out the bay leaf}.  Add the parmigiano, parsley and lemon juice.  Slowly pour in the reserved pasta water to dissolve the cheese and thin it out to a sauce consistency.  Hit it with a healthy dose of olive oil and a few turns of fresh ground black pepper to give it bite.  Return noodles to the pot and gently toss to coat in the sauce.  Split the pasta between two large bowls and shower it with shredded basil.

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